3:00 AM and mrpeenee is tucking into some seriously tasty Boston cream pie, made by his own two loving hands. Those of us familiar with his passion for sweets will not be surprised by the menu, but the hour might seem unlikely.
I have been on a new regime of pain meds for my back which seem to be helping a lot. Yay. A drawback is I take them 4 times a day and cannot eat 2 hours before or after knocking them back. That means I can only eat, I don’t know, you do the math. I can’t count that high. But 3:00 AM is in the safe zone and I take advantage of it.
I had made New Years Eve dinner for our friends and had centered the menu around dishes their families had insisted on as Ne Years traditions. There are lots of them to choose from.
My American Southern family demands black eyed peas for good luck and cabbage as a symbol of money. Super Agent Fred’s late husband Paolo was Italian and they go for lentils to suggest abundance and grapes as wealth. Our friend Jen is Hungarian and the only tradition she brings is to place coins on a window sill to keep money coming in all year. Seems contradictory since you start with money going out, but what the hell, I have a stack of quarters now hanging around the sill of the door onto the patio.
Since no one not raised in the South will willingly eat black eyed peas, I snuck them into the menu by making a hummus with them instead of chickpeas (which I don’t really like anyway, so no great loss) and lime juice and tahini. I was concerened everyone would be equally unenthused about cabbage, but a dynamite recipe for stirfry with star anise in it was a big hit.
And then Boston cream pie. It’s a simple two layer yellow cake with a custard in the middle and then glazed with chcolate ganache. Ganache is one of those wonder recipes that can be the basis for plenty of greater things.
Ganache is just chocolate melted in cream with a little butter to make it shiny. You change the proportion of cream to chocolate for what you want to use it for. Equal amounts of each gives you a thin glaze like I used on the cake. More chocolate and less cream and you have the basis for truffles. More cream and less chocolate is chilled and whipped to make mousse.
I was perhaps a tiny bit distracted while I was pouring the glaze over the cake and wound up with it not only pooling in the bottom of the cake dish, but making a big puddle on the counter beneath. I decided it was Bacchanalian, a glorious excess. Certainly not just a fucking mess.
I might also have considered the results of a dinner with peas, lentils and cabbage, which result in an aftermath that could move a freight train. I was going to hang a sign out front saying “For god’s sake, don’t light a match,” but the neighbors are already nosy enough.
And so we’re off to a gassy, but no doubt prosperous New Year, blasting 2016 off into the unlamented past.